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The Sentinel-Record/Mara Kuhn FALLUNOVALOT FAVORITE: Ivan Fallunovalot won the King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters for the second time on Jan. 30, 2016, with jockey Calvin Borel at Oaklawn Park. Ivan Fallunovalot is the program favorite in a field which includes five Oaklawn stakes winners in a King Cotton prep race.

The Sentinel-Record/Mara Kuhn FALLUNOVALOT FAVORITE: Ivan Fallunovalot won the King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters for the second time on Jan. 30, 2016, with jockey Calvin Borel at Oaklawn Park. Ivan Fallunovalot is the program favorite in a field which includes five Oaklawn stakes winners in a King Cotton prep race.

Stakes winners crowd King Cotton prep field

By Staff Reports
This article was published January 14, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

Sunday's eighth race at Oaklawn is a prep for the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Feb. 3, but it looks more like the King Cotton than a prep for the King Cotton.

Five Oaklawn stakes winners are entered in the six-furlong allowance/optional claimer, including two-time King Cotton winner Ivan Fallunovalot for trainer Tom Howard, of Hot Springs, and owner Lewis Mathews, of Bismarck.

The gelding won the King Cotton in 2015 and 2016 before finishing a flat fourth in last year's running, which was his 7-year-old debut. Ivan Fallunovalot will be making his first start since the $150,000 David M. Vance Stakes Sept. 24 at Remington Park, which he has won won the last four years.

Ivan Fallunovalot is scheduled to face, among others, 2017 King Cotton winner Storm Advisory; Apprehender, King Cotton winner in 2013 and 2014; Rockshaw, winner of the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters last year at Oaklawn; and Counterforce, winner of the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters in 2016 at Oaklawn.

"It's a tough race," Howard said. "We've got a lot of speed. I don't like the spot he got, that's for sure."

Ivan Fallunovalot will break from the rail under 2007 Oaklawn riding champion Luis Quinonez. Ivan Fallunovalot drew the rail for last year's King Cotton, his 2017 debut, and was beaten four lengths by Storm Advisory after breaking in midpack and shuffled back on the turn when in tight.

Howard also noted a minor illness interrupted Ivan Fallunovalot's training schedule leading up to last year's King Cotton.

"He was in no shape to do any racing, that's for sure," Howard said.

The popular Ivan Fallunovalot has won 17 of 28 starts and $945,803 in his career. His best work has been done since Howard, on behalf of Mathews, claimed the Valid Expectations gelding for $25,000 at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting.

Ivan Fallunovalot is the 2-1 program favorite Sunday.

In addition to the five Oaklawn stakes winners, Recount, Constantino, Bourbon Cowboy, St. Joe Bay and Wilbo are also entered.

St. Joe Bay, the first scheduled Oaklawn starter for Southern California-based trainer Peter Miller, won the Grade 2 $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes last February at Santa Anita before running fourth, beaten 3 ½ lengths, in the Grade 1 $2 million Golden Shaheen last March in Dubai. St. Joe Bay is the early 5-2 second choice.

Multiple stakes winner Recount finished second in last year's King Cotton for trainer Jimmy DiVito but has not started since finishing seventh in the $70,000 Kelly's Landing Stakes June 30 at Churchill Downs.

"I just wanted to give him a rest," DiVito said. "He needed a little R&R. He's a hard runner, tries every time he goes out there."

Recount was an allowance winner last April at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the eighth race, which carries a $78,000 purse, is 4:42 p.m.

Sports on 01/14/2018
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